Monday, July 31, 2017

SEBAC - The Faceless Union Monolith

Image may contain: 1 personCommentary by Chris Healy

If they win Monday’s vote to ratify a far-reaching deal with the state of Connecticut, the leaders of SEBAC – State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition, the faceless union monolith can sleep soundly again and they will have their protectors in the Democrat Party to thank.

SEBAC had always won. In the end, they can instill fear without peer. The other interest groups do their thing, telling heart-felt stories about what budget cuts will mean to their clients. Some work while others just add to the white noise.

But when the state employees and teachers call – it’s a whole different matter. Incumbents start to ponder a primary challenge, a well-funded one – matched by “we’ll leave this up to the voters’ response from leadership.

With the exception to one Democrat who would prefer to have SEBAC as a foe for political survival, all the House renegades, who met openly in the halls of the Capitol to discuss their initial skepticism of the budget proposal – all approved the SEBAC package. All Republicans opposed the agreement after spending hours pointing out its serious and obvious flaws.

In a 18-18 state Senate, the common wisdom is there is only one Democrat state Senator who might cross the proverbial aisle to save the next 10-20 years of having state employees have operational control of our entire state government. This senator has said “no” to tax increases and other liberal convention, but there are only a few rare examples of who can live with being the only bird on the wire.
SEBAC and their fawning patrons in the legislature have explained that even if you don’t like the SEBAC agreement, turning it down would create further budget chaos, and social service carnage since no one can possibly figure out how to find $1.5 billion if required by the reality at hand.
Then there are paying teachers, saving Hartford from a financial meltdown, paying non-profits and of course, the new passenger rail line for New Haven to Springfield.

After this vote, the next will be the state budget and it would seem likely that after taking one for SEBAC, some of the Democrats who want to vote against the budget, have lost one of their key arguments – the unions are not giving nearly enough. Since they gave away the store, quietly go along for the rest of it seems the path of least resistance.

The public, most of which is oblivious to the current debate, will forget it, get used to the taxes and the dysfunction. They are used to this storyline. It worked before. Why not now?

But will it?

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